The Flummox

It’s been stuck in my head, whether awake or in bed. It’s nonsensical, pretensable and yes, unpreventable. It won’t let me end…until I wrestle it, nestle in it, toss with  it and turn with it. The cartwheels and squeals, at least in my head as I ponder and wander the path it has led…

It continues to move and shift day and night, the perplexities, simplicities, joys and some fright. It will always be here but will shift in it’s shape, the Flummox is upon us,  and for this I need my cape.


(My attempt at whimsical words and writing as inspired by the master of such — Dr. Seuss.)

There is so much about the past several months that has me flummoxed. Truth be told, I’m perpetually flummoxed as my mind seeks to make sense of the nonsensical and nonsensable.

And my friends, if you are a grammar geek and my creative šŸ™‚ use of words and formation of words bothers you — too bad. 

There have been countless times since February when asked about my cancer and my treatment, that the word “weird” has been used.  As a word person I have come to terms, at least on occasion, with not being able to describe what I am going through and what I am feeling. I can relay the facts as I know them, but even within those facts there is a constant sense of contradiction, juxtaposition and flummoxation.

I think I may try to use every word formation I can think of using flummox as the base. I’m a borderline grammar geek, but raising my hand to join linguistic geeks!

Some time in the recent past the word FLUMMOX came to mind. It’s not a word I think I have used in any thing I have ever written and to the best of my recollection, it has not been spoken oft from my mouth. However, that may change.

According to Webster, flummox is a transitive verb with unknown origin meaning to confuse. Synonyms include addle, baffle, bamboozle, bewilder, confound, discombobulate, disorient, confuse, muddle, perplex, puzzle, vex. It’s a pretty impressive word.  As I pondered its meaning I was content in using it to describe my feelings and thoughts. I kept thinking it sounded like a Seuss word, but I figured I was merely thinking of the Lorax.  Upon rummaging for a brief time I found that the Flummox is in fact a tailed creature who carries a Three-Snarper harper on it’s back in If I Ran the Circus. (Dr. Seuss Catalog: An Annotated Guide to Works by Theodor Geisel in All Media, Writings About Him, and Appearances of Characters and Places in the Books, Stories and Film, 2005)


There are moments when it is still hard for me to grasp that I’m dealing with cancer. It’s flummoxing to say the least. I still think back to the surprising and unwelcoming news that was presented to us. I shake my head in mild disbelief. And yet, the reality is ever present and the reminders surface regularly that it is in fact, no joke.

It’s a bewildering state of mind to acknowledge that cancer does not define me, yet at this stage in time it impacts virtually every decision that is made. Flummoxing how much it dictates.

Each time I go in for treatment I realize I’m holding my breath a bit to see if the port is accessible and working. After the early port fiasco the possibility of a glitch (and that’s a mild term) is present. But here’s the flummoxing part of accessing the port, when it works, and I am so thankful it does, I am thinking “Oh good! I get to have chemo!” Think through that statement. This one experience that is repeated every two weeks is a vivid example to me of the contradictory nature of things as they exist for me (and many others) right now. Yes, I know that the chemo is designed for my long term good, to combat the bad that invaded my body. But, it’s a bit strange to rejoice in getting the clear to have chemo when I know what the coming days will bring. Oh, the Flummox is nearby.

I’ve written before about the mental fog that accompanies treatment. It fits right into this whole flummoxating post.

As I ponder a lot these days, I have found I’m flummoxed in positive ways as well as those that are more exhausting. I find it mystifying how my heart can be filled to the brim (and overflowing) with heavy things, but at the same time be filled to the brim (and overflowing) with gratitude. How can something be filled to overflowing by singular feelings, yet overflow with multiple thoughts and feelings.  It’s flummoxing to me, but in more embraceable way. And by singular feelings, I am in no way suggesting they are simple. Rather, the feelings are related to a common thing.

Cancer has brought a new circle of friends and a new kinship with those who have fought battles with this beast. There is a connection I could have never understood before. I find myself deeply concerned for those located nearby when I am getting treatments.

  • I am hoping and praying my friend Susan (changing names out of concern for privacy) whom I met at treatment number one was strong enough to attend her son’s wedding last month in Montana.  She’s a feisty eighty year old and I smile when I think of her.
  • I’m hoping and praying Mrs. C is doing well with her treatments and will feel strong when her 50th wedding anniversary celebration approaches in a few weeks.
  • I’m hoping and praying the 250 mile drive for treatment does not get in the way of Mrs. S’s recovery.
  • I’m hoping and praying Lou is handling treatment well and that Mary is holding up as she supports him. He was so nervous weeks ago.
  • I’m hoping and praying Cindy is doing well and feeling strong to enjoy her daughter’s wedding in two weeks and can have energy to enjoy her one year old granddaughter coming from across the sea.
  • I’m hoping and praying my friend Greg, whom I’m never met, is at peace as he will start treatment two tomorrow in Texas. He is receiving the same regime as I am, for colon cancer. I met his sweet daughter-in-law two weeks ago as she drew my lab work and our hearts connected.
  • I’m hoping and praying Aaron can regain some weight and strength. He’s a young dad who seems to be at the center every time I am and I wonder if he is there more often.
  • I’m hoping and praying Jenny, the sweet young Texan mom who received the cancer free declaration, can continue with her remaining procedures with strength and success
  • I’m hoping and praying the new patient who was there this past week is doing okay through her first treatment. She seemed to need her privacy, which I totally respect, but my heart has thought of her often.

These are but a few of my “heavies” just as they relate to cancer. I’m certain we all can add to the list as related to life apart from cancer.

How thankful I am that my heart is able to overflow with gratitude as well as swell with the heavy things. It’s amazing to me that the heart is capable of such a flummoxating feat. I know I won’t include all that I’m grateful for because the list is long. After all, it fills my heart to overflowing!

  • Humor in the midst of pain and stress
  • Incredible caregivers, both at home and at the clinic
  • Minds that research treatment options and make strides in the care given to cancer patients
  • My family — they continue to be wonderful through all of this
  • Friends who step up to the plate time and again by taking me to treatments, hair appointments and whatever is requested.
  • Friends who send texts, cards and surprises my way, encouraging me in remarkable ways.
  • Countless delicious meals that have been brought to our home. I’m humbled by the graciousness
  • My dog, Chris šŸ™‚
  • The cleansing that comes through tears
  • Moments when I forget that I have cancer!!!
  • Prayers that are offered around the world for my healing. This is something that goes beyond description.
  • Hope and a good prognosis
  • Words that help me sort through the flummoxating experience that is now.

Last week was hard. Thursday was one of the roughest days I can remember. I don’t look forward to more treatments, but I look forward to being done. The contradictions will continue, the confusion of this time will be present. The Flummox isn’t disappearing, but through it all, there is peace. There is a turmoil of thought at times and I battle on. The team that is family, friends and fellow fighters helps me to battle on. So even when the battle rages, I know when the fight settles a bit, peace will still be there.

It’s kind of crazy. It’s a flummoxating sort of thing. It’s weird.

As is often the case in my posts, there is a spiritual element. If you choose to be done reading, I once again say, thanks for reading to this point. 

My peace comes from a God who is not a God of confusion. Oh, I don’t begin to understand Him fully, but I fully trust Him. I don’t know that I can add any more to that at this time. I rest in Him.


One thought on “The Flummox

  1. Diane,you remind me of the story about a little engine.Pulling a heavy load up hill,never a thought about giving up..”i think i can,i think i can. The little engine won the battle!!!!!!!!!!!!! unc tom

    Liked by 1 person

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